Plain Talk About Food: The preciousness of friendship and a summer peach cake
by Colly Gruczelak
Jul 10, 2014 | 1292 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Do you remember the movie by Thornton Wilder “Our Town” and narrated by Hal Holbrook in the 1950s?

This movie depicted the preciousness of time and friendship between two families living side-by-side in Grover’s Corners, a small town, much like our towns here in the San Lorenzo Valley.

In 2004, my hubby and I chose Ben Lomond to be our new hometown. When we came upon our little century-plus old home, on a street with even older oak trees towering over and the river flowing behind, I had a “this is it” feeling — a place where we would make new friends, much like the Webb and Gibbs families in “Our Town.”

This neighborhood that my hubby Norm and I chose has become as comfortable and as familiar as a pair of old slippers. In the mornings, when I hear our neighbor Mike Boynton’s diesel truck’s engine start up, I know our day has begun. When I see the three Boynton kids return home from school, I know it is time to begin preparing my evening’s supper.

When the neighborhood dogs begin barking after dark, I know the deer have come up from the river and are munching on our roses, or the skunks or raccoons are digging under bushes for grubs or seeds dropped by birds from the feeders above.

Heather, Mike’s wife, and I could have played the part of Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb in the movie, each of us with six kids of our own, with one exception; mine are now grown and have moved on; Heather still has three living at home,

Our home with its large windows look directly across the street into Heather and Mike’s home, and over these past 10 years, they have become a huge part of our lives.

If Mike sees me lifting, tugging or climbing, I am admonished, for as Mike says, it will only take him a minute to do that with no effort at all.

This generous man shares the fruits of his garden throughout the summer with us; flowers and vegetables picked and delivered across the street to us. Heather is equally as generous, spending a great deal of her time cooking for special occasions for the school where her kids attend. Dinner time will find many friends and family at Mike and Heather’s home; love abounds there!

Heather and I share small things; eggs, milk, spices, a can of this or that, or a special pot or pan. We decided years ago that it was silly to buy something that we only need once in a while, especially when we live “just across the street” from one another. Nothing is “paid back;” it all works out in the end.

What a wonderful place we have chosen, Norm and I…Our Town, Ben Lomond.


2 ½ pounds peaches, cut into ½ inch-thick wedges. Remove 24 wedges. Cut rest of

wedges into thirds and set aside.

24 peach wedges

2 Tbsp. peach schnapps

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Carefully mix and set aside

Add to bowl of remaining peach chunks:

3 Tbsp. peach schnapps

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Spread peach chunks in single layer and bake at 425 deg. until exuded juices begin to thicken and caramelize at edge of baking sheet, 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temp. Reduce oven to 350 deg.

While cooling, spray 9 in. springform pan with vegetable oil spray.

In bowl, whisk together:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 ¼ tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. salt

In second bowl, whisk together until thick and homogenous, about 45 sec.

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, add

8 Tbsp. melted and cooled butter

¼ cup sour cream

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. almond extract

Whisk together; add flour mixture. Whisk together until just combined.

1/3 cup Panko crumbs finely crushed.

3 Tbsp. gran. sugar

Spread Panko crumbs over cooled peach chunks, mixing gently.

Pour half of batter into springform pan, carefully spreading to edge of pan. Arrange peach wedges over batter, pressing lightly into batter. Pour remaining batter into pan and smooth top. Arrange reserved peach wedges on top in a circle, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle sugar over top of batter. Bake 50-60 minutes until center is set. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan. Cool completely 2-3 hours.

Guaranteed to please!

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